Carthage will hold a series of events in 2021 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the graduation of the College’s first Black graduate, Lorraine Wiggan, who received her diploma at Carthage’s 1946 Commencement.
Throughout 2021, Carthage will pay tribute to the generations of Black Carthage students who, since 1946, have attained and contributed extraordinary levels of achievement in academics, co-curricular activities, scholarly work, and volunteerism; and celebrate our Black alumni, who have achieved excellence in professional careers across every industry and in countless other ways.
75 Years of Black Excellence will lift up Black communities and voices, and cherish, embrace, and celebrate Black contributions to our beloved Carthage community. The yearlong celebration will include special events during Homecoming Weekend Oct. 14-17, 2021.
Events are being planned by the Office of Equity and Inclusion, in collaboration with Carthage students, the Black Student Union, and the Wiggan-Kenniebrew Black Alumni Network. In spring, the Carthage Board of Trustees passed a resolution to recognize 75 Years of Black Excellence. The board enthusiastically celebrates the achievements of Black alumni over that span and recognizes 75 Years of Black Excellence as a compelling and important means to bring Carthaginians together, both to celebrate the achievements of the past and to inspire the achievements of the future.
Please visit The Bridge and Carthage calendar and follow Carthage’s social media for updates on upcoming events, news, and highlights all year long.
About Lorraine Wiggan
The first in her family to attend college, Lorraine Wiggan ’46 majored in music at Carthage, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She went on to teach music and conduct a children’s choir in Edwards, Mississippi, before taking her work to Puerto Rico, where she served in rural parishes for five years.
Over the next 14 years, she served as an organist, established choirs, and extended musical horizons for many Lutheran communities in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands; Camden, New Jersey; Chicago; and Brooklyn, New York. She earned a master’s degree in music education from Columbia University, with additional study at The Juilliard School. Her Carthage legacy continued when her nieces, Karen Thomas Garrett ’75 and Chief Judge Cynthia Thomas Walker ’78, graduated from Carthage more than three decades later.